Agriculture and forestry are two of the most dangerous industries in the US with a high prevalence and incident rate of occupational injuries.
While forestry, nursery and vineyard industries are major economic drivers in the Pacific Northwest agriculture, these three sectors have the highest MSD rates (60 per 1000 workers in forestry, 40 per 1000 workers in nursery and 80 per 1000 workers in vineyard).
These MSD rates are almost 100 times higher than the industrial targets set by NIOSH (Healthy People, 2000). This disproportionally high injury rate is due to the physically demanding nature of the work performed in harsh environment (e.g., outdoor, heat/cold stress, steep, uneven and wet ground) posing various physical risk factors.
Our exoskeleton research in Forestry and Agriculture is to reduce biomechanical load associated with various forestry tasks and therfore improve health and well-being of forestry and agriculture workers.